John’s Story

From Street to Counselor

John Marlow

Intake Counselor and Former Client, Street School

Not many fail ninth grade twice then earn a doctorate in education.

Such is true for John Marlow who moved to Tulsa when he was 12. An unstable home and struggles in school led him to substance abuse. It wasn’t long before he dropped out.

Desperate to improve his life, Marlow turned to Street School, a partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. Street School provided a place to learn, and a counselor to help him set a positive course.

“The interpersonal interaction that I received during my counseling at Street School was instrumental in my development both as a student and citizen,” he said.

Marlow’s life began to turn around when he graduated from Street School. He then graduated from Tulsa Community College and University of Tulsa, earning a master’s degree in 1996 and a Ph.D. in 2006.
When Marlow was a professor at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, he often visited the Torres Correctional Facility at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. After meeting many prisoners who had dropped out of high school, Marlow wanted to prevent children from heading down the same path.

Marlow is now an intake counselor at Street School. He is the first voice over the phone students and parents hear. Marlow lets them know that they are not alone.

Street School is designed to help families and students who are struggling. The only requirement is the student has to want to attend school.

“The United Way makes stories like mine possible in the lives of these children,” Marlow said.